We received the WSCUC (WASC) action letter this week on July 15, the final step in our reaffirmation of accreditation process. Congratulations to the entire campus for the thoughtful, creative and long work that have brought us to such a good conclusion! Thank you to the entire campus for your support, work and commitment to the WASC process and FPU. The work we have done helps us better achieve our mission and serve our students and broader community.
The commission reaffirmed our accreditation for seven years! They echoed the visiting team’s commendations for the restoration of institutional stability, the development of a “culture of evidence” especially related to student learning, and the concentration on WASC’s core competencies (writing and critical thinking, as well as the “meaning and quality of degrees”). They praised the inquiry circles and their collaborative work! Sometimes in our meetings together when announcements like this are made we might have paused with a spontaneous singing of the Doxology–”Praise God from whom all blessing flow…” Feel free to do so yourself as you read.
The commission also endorsed the recommendations of the visiting team: the need to address communication and decision-making, continued work on diversity, implementation of the strategic plan, and financial stability. They called for a special, mid-term visit in the fall of 2018 to review these four recommendations.
The letter is long, and the team’s report even longer, but I would encourage you to read them carefully and thoroughly. They recognize the good work we are doing and give us guidance for the next years. You can find the documents on the FPU website. They are publically accessible to anyone interested. They will also be posted on the WSCUC website soon.
When the commission commended our assessment work, our culture of evidence they endorsed the conclusion of the visiting team: “Regarding assessment, the team reported that ‘the institution is making good use of and contributing to best practices in this area.’” This is high praise. At the heart of accreditation is the demonstration of student learning through the systematic gathering of evidence. FPU is now recognized as being at the forefront of institutions that ensure that students are learning; institutions that ‘continually improve” in teaching and student achievement, and develop better practices for teaching and learning. Congratulations and thank you to the faculty of each school, and to co-curricular departments, who developed an assessment system about which we could be so highly praised.
A special thanks is in order to Dr. Cindy Carter, associate provost for degree completion and institutional effectiveness, and her team, Patty Salinas and Shirley Warkentin. They put together a massive effort to bring the final report into a coherent and complete form. Also thanks to the CIC Steering Committee: Cindy, Patty and Shirley and Gary Gramenz, Karen Cianci, Ron Herms, Mike Allen, Jim Bryan and Tina White. The steering committee met regularly for three years to guide and steer the process as it developed. Thank you to all who chaired inquiry circles, served on the circles, wrote and edited the report, supplied data, met with the visiting teams, prepared the campus and supported the effort in many other ways. Thanks also to the Visalia and Bakersfield campuses for hosting the visiting teams.
FPU fills a special role in our higher education environment. The reaccreditation process has helped us to be a better FPU, better at achieving our unique mission, better at serving our students and communities, and better at helping each other in that effort. Thanks and congratulations to all.